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Columbus Community Hospital for the eighth year is gearing up for its summer camp that provides youth with an assortment of knowledge relating to Safety, Nutrition, Awareness and Physical activity.

Coined S.N.A.P Camp for kids, the two-day campaign is being held next Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 6-7) at the Columbus Wellness Center, 3912 38th St. So far, Columbus Community Hospital Education Coordinator Melinda Allen said that 13 of the camp’s 25 spots have been filled. Those interested in signing their kids up for camp still have time, and can accomplish this by calling Allen at 402-563-3321.

During the duration of the $25 camp – which includes a T-shirt, lunches and snacks - Allen said that CCH health care professionals will engage campers and provide them with insight relating to all of the S.N.A.P components.

“We just take all of those (S.N.A.P) areas and bring in a lot of real hands-on activities,” Allen said, noting the camp is for incoming fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. “We bring in nurses, physical therapists, dietitians, all of whom present to the kids. And we have some new things this year, which is really exciting.”

One of the new activities being brought in for campers to enjoy and benefit from is a performance from the Omaha-based theater group RESPECT. The educational, nonprofit theater group, is presenting its Choices program, which is catered to the specific needs of individual schools and organizations. The program focuses on teen social issues, mental health and negative and positive peer pressure, according to information released by the organization.

Camp representatives will choose from three of seven possible skits that are most relevant to the unique needs of the campers. Scene choices revolve around self-injurious behaviors, suicide/depression, bullying, teen dating violence, alcohol, drugs and body image.

During a talkback session, students will have the opportunity to anonymously submit questions relating to the presented skits on notecards which will be answered by a RESPECT panel, which will have at least one mental health professional featured.

Patricia Newman, a child psychologist and the executive director/founder of RESPECT, said through a provided statement that performing arts is a great way to engage developing students.

“Theater is a great way to help students learn about healthy versus unhealthy relationship and behavioral choices, as well as the impact that their choices can have in the consequences for themselves and their fellow students,” Newman said. “Students of all age levels can identify with the characters in various plays and what they experience.

“There is the potential to develop empathy and more fully recognize the impact of bullying and other abusive and hurtful behaviors as directed toward others. Just as importantly, they can learn different problem-solving ideas and potential strategist to help themselves and others. They learn from each other and their community, as they are involved within the role play and discussion sessions that follow each play.

The RESPECT show is being held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Camp on Tuesday and Wednesday runs from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Another new S.N.A.P Camp item is a presentation from Columbus Fire & Rescue, which is bringing its Emergency Preparedness trailer.

“It’s kind of a simulator for all these different disasters,” Allen said, noting tornadoes and house fires, among other disasters. “It’s a great hands-on experience for them.”

Allen said that the camp is very well-received annually. It’s a great way for community kids to have fun, while also taking away some valuable pointers. Really, there’s just a little something that all campers will enjoy or benefit from.

It might be something as simple as getting into the habit of washing their hands. Which, after placing their hands under a black light during a hygiene segment of camp, most inevitably will be a little more cognizant of doing a little scrubbing.

“You wouldn’t believe how well they all wash their hand the rest of camp after that,” she said, with a laugh.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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News Editor

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram, Schuyler Sun and The Banner-Press newspapers. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015.

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